Apple may not be competing in the virtual reality market, but it has every intention on making augmented reality a priority.
The Cupertino company is reportedly working on a pair of glasses in a bid to bring AR technology to the masses, though a consumer product may be a ways off. In the interim, Apple is said to add limited AR features to the iPhone 8, which is expected later this year.
Apple has assembled a team of “hundreds of engineers,” including a former Dolby Laboratories executive and people who previously worked on Oculus and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Bloomberg notes Apple has also acquired several small firms with expertise in AR, bolstering the company’s efforts to enter the space.
Apple executives have championed AR technology in the past, particularly over virtual reality, which Tim Cook said is limiting. In lieu of glasses, Apple is exploring ways to bring AR to its upcoming iPhone, which Bloomberg expands upon:
One of the features Apple is exploring is the ability to take a picture and then change the depth of the photograph or the depth of specific objects in the picture later; another would isolate an object in the image, such as a person’s head, and allow it to be tilted 180 degrees. A different feature in development would use augmented reality to place virtual effects and objects on a person, much the way Snapchat works.
PrimeSense might be key
Back in 2013, Apple acquired an Israeli company called PrimeSense, which may be key to introducing AR to the iPhone 8. And, in the future, to glasses, which Bloomberg says is further down the road.
We’ve heard the iPhone 8 will include a number of new features, including a “function area” and revamped design. But its AR capabilities could be what sets the device apart against mounting competition from Samsung when it’s available this fall.